Sea turtles are ectotherms (cold-blooded), meaning that they can not internally maintain their body temperature and must absorb heat from the surrounding environment to stay warm. If exposed to temperatures under 10ºC for a prolonged time, sea turtles will suffer from “cold-stunning”, or hypothermia. When this happens, the turtles will suffer from many problems, increasing a decreased metabolic rate, slow heart beat, feeling lazy, for instance. If turtles remain cold for too long, they can die as their body literally shuts down.
- Anderson, E. T., Harms, C. A., Stringer, E. M., & Cluse, W. M. (2011). Evaluation of hematology and serum biochemistry of cold-stunned green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in North Carolina, USA. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 42(2), 247-255